The Blessing of Christmas
“And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45)
Belief is not a part of a picture in Christianity; it is the whole picture for the Christian. It is what the Christian is called to. At this point, someone may be wondering about acts of obedience such as love, not getting angry, having compassion on others, etc. He may say, “Are not these a part of Christianity too?” Yes, they find their place within Christianity, but behind it all is a faith in God that fuels all the activities and conditions of the heart. A true faith in God is empowering. A true faith in God obeys. A true faith in God believes everything that God says in His Word and is evidenced through works (James 2:26). Faith is the big picture. Faith is the whole picture.
“And blessed is she that believed”
The context of the verse at hand is that John the Baptist and Jesus have not been born yet. Mary goes to see Elizabeth, and John the Baptist leaps for joy in her womb. Elizabeth is excited to see Mary and becomes filled with the Spirit. In this filled state, she exclaims the magnitude of Mary coming to visit and humbles herself before God’s chosen servant and the Lord Himself. Elizabeth pronounces blessings upon Mary, and in this, she highlights an important point. It is this: Mary believed, and as a result, she is blessed. Belief will in fact lead to blessing.
So what did Mary believe, and what did this look like? Well, Mary was met by Gabriel prior to this point (Luke 1:26-27). This angel informed Mary that she would be with child. Mary found this hard to believe, but the angel informed her of the plan and reassured her of God’s favor.
In response to the angel telling her the news, Mary believes. This belief is one that would put her in an awkward predicament. However, she declares in faith that she is a servant of God and is willing. This is what faith looks like. Faith is not an abstract concept with no visual manifestations. Faith is not just saying yes to some historical facts. Faith forever changed the course and direction of Mary’s life. Life would never be the same for her. Nor is life ever the same for those who believe in Jesus.
However, she would in fact be blessed by the Lord because she believed.
“for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her”
Mary was told a great deal of information concerning what would come about. This may have been hard to believe at times. It may have been downright impossible to believe at times. At least in most situations. Nevertheless, Mary was told what would take place. It could even be said that Mary was promised what would take place.
The claims that were made to her must have been overwhelming. The extent of what was said could find no equal in her mind. She would soon be the mother of the Lord and Savior of the World. The eternally-existing God was going to enter into time and walk the earth, but not before Mary cared for Him as a little child. These claims were truly astounding. How could she believe them?
“from the Lord”
She could believe the claims because the source of the promise was trustworthy. When ships set out to sea, they are carried around by their sails, by the wind, and by the course of the sea. These ships are very easily influenced, and storms can make it nearly impossible to get to where you would want to go. In the life of every ship, there comes a time when the ship must stop. Often this takes place in a dock or otherwise just somewhere out at sea. The ship’s ability to hold its place does not lie in the captain’s ability to keep it motionless. Rather, the captain recognizes there is an anchor. This anchor holds the ship in place and keeps the ship from crashing. These anchors can help the captain to weather the storm. These anchors are built to last, and they are built strong.
God is the anchor for the Christian. The reliability of the claims and their finding their fulfillment did not depend upon the claims themselves. The reliability of the clams didn’t even find their source in the angel Gabriel. The claims came from God Himself.
Mary knew this was the source, and in that, she was able to believe. Lies circulate all around us, and trusting someone can be hard to do. This reality in the lives of mankind makes it difficult for people to trust God. If all mankind ever knew was truth and honesty and there was nothing to compete with it, trusting God would probably be a lot easier. However, everyone has been lied to at one point or another. Each time a lie is uncovered, it may make it harder to trust.
Separating this human experience from your relationship with God is essential. Scripture says, “God is not man, that he should lie” (Num. 23:19a). This is the God in Whom Mary believed. She recognized He was different. He was unique. And although the claims sounded impossible, God was able to do what He promised.
This Christmas, remember that you can trust in God to do what He says He will do.
For Further Study: Read Hebrews 11. What are some characteristics of faith that can be seen in this chapter? How can this be applied to your life?